In the early hours of Christmas Eve 2007, Royal Marines Commando Mark Ormrod was out on a routine foot patrol in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan when he stepped on and triggered an Improvised Explosive Device.
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He woke up three days later in the UK in Selly Oak Hospital, Birmingham. Both his legs had been amputated above the knee and his right arm amputated above the elbow.
Mark, now 31, was the UK’s first triple amputee to survive the Afghanistan conflict. Just weeks after he was injured Mark and his wife Becky were among the first to stay at SSAFA’s Norton House in Surrey, a home-from-home that provides free accommodation, allowing wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women to spend valuable time with their loved ones away from the hospital environment while being treated at the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre at Headley Court. “It is hard putting into words just how much SSAFA Norton House helped us and how grateful we were.”
In an extraordinary feat, just six months after losing his limbs Mark completed a tandem skydive with the Black Knights parachute display team, raising more than £2,000 for SSAFA. And when doctors later told him that he would never walk again Mark was determined to prove them wrong. Now a proud father-of-three, he hasn’t used a wheelchair since June 2009 and continues to inspire others through his work as a motivational speaker. Mark also mentors fellow amputees, encouraging them to take back control of their lives following the loss of a limb and has formed a close relationship with his local SSAFA Branch in Plymouth.
“I will always be grateful to SSAFA for the support they gave me and my family during tough times. The injuries I sustained in Afghanistan changed my life but they do not define it. What defines my life is the meaning I have chosen to attach to what happened to me, to the positive lessons I learned along the way and the growth I have experienced.
“Not everyone is so lucky and it’s vital that other servicemen and women and veterans who face challenges like me know they and their families can rely on the support of SSAFA now and in the future. That’s why I’m supporting SSAFA - they can only provide that support with the public’s help.”